This book explores the concept of degrowth, beginning from a basic assumption, that not of resource depletion, as common to the majority of literature in the field, but rather from a state of abundance, arguing that there is a vast amount of energy on the planet waiting to be utilised by all its inhabitants.
Adopting a sociological approach, Onofrio Romano argues that the growth momentum is not simply a broadly shared "value", but the physiological outcome of a specific institutional frame. The problem is that in its mainstream formulation the degrowth alternative shares with the growth-led regime some basic anthropological, political and institutional pillars. In order to build a real alternative, Romano suggests to review degrowth in the light of the dépense notion by Georges Bataille. According to him, our societies have no problems with acknowledging scarcity, but with dealing with the surplus energy that calls us to act for a qualified life. So, in order to erase the growth obsession, we have to ward off the "servile" dimension, i.e. the utilitarian activities needed for the mere reproduction of life, in order to regain a "sovereign" posture over the world, featured by the emergence of a de-thinking subject.
Innovative and provocative, Towards a Society of Degrowth will be of great interest to students and scholars of degrowth, sociology, social anthropology, political ecology and ecological economics.
1. The Sociology of Growth
2. Degrowth: The Rise of a Radical Alternative
3. Rethinking Degrowth though Dépense
4. Beyond the Servile: The Society of Degrowth
Appendix: Which degrowth? A Dialogue with Serge Latouche